Dáil Éireann - Volume 639 - 10 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Cancer Treatment Services.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding her proposals in respect of cancer services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22974/07]

  Deputy Mary Harney: The implementation of the National Strategy for Cancer Control is a major priority for me and for this Government. The delivery of cancer services on a programmatic basis will serve to ensure equity of access to services and equality of patient outcome irrespective of geography. The recent decisions of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the designation of four managed cancer control networks and eight cancer centres will be implemented on a managed and phased basis. The HSE plans to have completed 80-90% of the transition of services to the cancer centres by the end of 2009.

My Department and the HSE have been working closely on the examination of procurement options in order to expedite the delivery of the National Plan for Radiation Oncology. The HSE has confirmed that it will have in place radiation oncology capacity to meet the needs of the population by 2010. After 2010 the HSE will continue to increase capacity to ensure that these needs continue to be met.

I fully support the appointment by the HSE of Prof. Tom Keane as Interim National Cancer Control Director. Investment in cancer control will be based on the reform programme now being implemented by the HSE. I consider it essential that the National Cancer Control Programme is delivered as rapidly as possible and I am particularly keen to see early progress in this regard. I intend to chair regular review meetings involving the HSE and Prof. Keane to monitor delivery of the programme. Progress will also be considered on an ongoing basis by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Health & Children.